Monday Morning Musings: Cards, Spurs, Heat & Lefty

pitcherU of L’s baseball nine faces #3 seed Oregon State in a loser-goes-home CWS elimination game this afternoon.

The Cards are in good company at least. Not that it’s much consolation.

The Beavers are one of the eight national seeds. Which means they were favorites over Mississippi State.

In the other bracket, North Carolina, the #1 overall seed in the tourney will meet #4 seed LSU, considered by many, way more in the know than me, as the favorite. It also is a loser’s bracket game. The Tar Heels were crushed by rival NC State, while the Tigers were smallballed by feisty UCLA.

If you’re keeping score at home, you now realize that the only three seeded teams that made it to Omaha all lost their opener. Which may signify nothing, other than I’m trying to convince you I know more about college baseball than I really do.

Okay, one more observation. If you’re wondering whether that small number of seeded teams making it to the last eight standing is unusual, me too? I didn’t go back and look at previous CWS participation numbers, but I did check out the recent NCAA hoops bracket to refresh my memory.

Only three of the top eight seeds in that competition made it as far as their seeding suggested they should. U of L, Duke and Ohio State.

Anyhow, the Cards are going to need Jeff Thompson and his relief staff to be on their game. Though pitching isn’t what hurt Louisville in the opener. IU only scored two runs. More important: U of L needs to score. You don’t win a lot of games when your Run column reads 0. Hits. Smart baserunning. Cardinals across the plate. Runs. Those are what the Dr. ordered.

U of L is still looking for its first CWS W. Today would be a great day for it.

* * * * *

philCongrats to Justin Rose for his US Open victory.

Now to the real story. Phil Mickelson. He finished 2d for the sixth time. Pretty stunning Sam Sneadish stat. Shooting 74 in the final round of a major rarely gits ‘er done. And it didn’t.

But I did come to fully understand why he’s a beloved player.

Somehow I channel surfed to his post-round press conference. There he stood, shaken and seriously disappointed, yet calmly and completely answering every question fired at him. Professional, quality answers. Why he chose clubs on certain shots? What he was trying to do? Why some things worked, and other things didn’t? What he did wrong? What he’d do differently?

He never flinched. He never shied away from taking responsibility for his mistakes. He answered with factual specificity.

He was the paradigm of a stand up guy. It was most impressive.

* * * * *

nbaThough there were a few sphincter tightening moments for San Antonio fans as the Heat made a mini run near the end last night, the series essentially stuck to its script. You know, where the teams alternate blow outs.

The Spurs Big 3 were, well, big. The Heat’s, uh, not so much.

Manu Ginobili played like it was 2003. Parker and Duncan were relentless. And Danny Green dropped treys through the nets like he was throwing a pair of boots in the back of a pick up.

To win the series, the Spurs need to “steal” one of the last two on South Beach.

Will they do it? I haven’t the slightest clue. If the rhythm of the series holds, Miami wins big tomorrow night, then San Antonio returns the favor for the title Thursday. It’s a hard plot line to fathom.

I loved Magic Johnson’s take on the situation, which he explained post-game. The Lakers faced the same circumstances a few years back. Up one, and facing two games to clinch on Boston’s floor. Magic said the Lakers took only one day’s clothes. They knew they had to win Game Six, that they’d never capture a Game 7 in Beantown.

Can’t wait to see how this series ends.

– Seedy K

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